Hong Kongers love buying sleek suitcases, fluffy neck pillows for plane rides and stylish walking shoes, all in the name of travel. But when it comes to one all-important purchase—travel insurance—everyone just tries to get away with doing the least research possible.
Travel insurance might not sound like the world’s most exciting purchase, but it plays a huge role in keeping you safe on your trip, not just from catastrophes but also from little annoyances that can ruin the enjoyment of your holiday.
So pay attention and consider these five things before you buy travel insurance on your next vacation.
Price isn’t the only important thing to look out for when selecting a policy
Many people approach buying travel insurance like they would bargaining for T-shirts at Ladies’ Market—the cheaper the better.
But price should not be the only thing that helps you decide what policy to buy, especially as some of the cheapest policies are cheap for a reason—they offer less protection in key areas.
Take into consideration other factors such as what areas you receive coverage in and how efficient the insurer is at processing claims. It’s not a good idea to buy a policy from an insurer that takes years to process claims.
Buy your travel insurance the moment you’re booked your flight tickets
Unbeknownst to many, when you buy travel insurance, you’re not just protected when you’re away on holiday, but also during the period leading up to your holiday, when you’re at home in Hong Kong.
You might be able to get compensated if your trip gets cancelled or delayed, or if you can’t travel due to an emergency such as an illness or a death in the family.
So getting your travel insurance early—preferably once you buy your tickets—enables you to get more bang for your buck. Do note, however, than some insurers will only allow you to buy travel insurance a maximum of, say, 30 days before your trip.
Consider an annual plan if you’re a frequent traveller
At first glance, annual travel insurance plans look a lot more expensive than single trip plans. But as they cover you for an entire year, they can actually work out to be cheaper if you’re a frequent traveller who’ll make any excuse to get out of Hong Kong.
As a general rule of thumb, if you make more than three overseas trips a year, you’re a good candidate for an annual travel insurance plan. Whether you’re just heading up to the mainland or travelling further afield to more exotic lands, an annual plan can save you money.
Check whether you’re being covered for emergency medical evacuation
Sure, we know you certainly don’t think it’s likely you’ll get into an accident so bad you’ll need to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance or helicopter.
But the cost of an emergency medical evacuation can be so monumental—amounting to a shocking hundreds of thousands of dollars—that you absolutely want to be sure your travel insurance covers it, just in case.
You are better off comparing travel insurance plans online
Unless you consider the dinosaurs your contemporaries, you should be able to buy travel insurance online, without the need to interact with other human beings.
Comparing travel insurance policies online is easy. Look at the premium prices and the extent of coverage of the various plans, and then pick one that suits your needs and budget.